By Michael Daventry
Lufthansa has rejected demands to ban tear gas from its cargo services after it emerged a consignment used by police on the streets of Istanbul was carried into Turkey by the airline.
Pictures of a used gas canister in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district bearing a Lufthansa Cargo sticker have been widely distributed on Facebook and Twitter, triggering a petition for the airline to change its dangerous goods policy.
The German carrier confirmed it flew an “ammunition, tear producing” shipment described as a dangerous good from New York to Istanbul in September 2012. But in a statement to Londra Gazete, Lufthansa Cargo said it complied with “all laws and regulations” and that it was for governments to “define the rules governing the transport of goods”.
The airline added: “As an airline, we cannot assume to judge the moral legitimacy of a consignment, which meets all legal requirements, to a democratic country and NATO member like Turkey.
“Of course we stand for transparency and welcome any open discussion – also on our Facebook site. We are taking the events in Turkey and your comments regarding these very seriously.”
But Işık Oğuzertem, who is campaigning for a promise not to carry dangerous chemicals in future, said Lufthansa needed to consider the morality of its position, not its legality.
“We understand Lufthansa are in compliance with applicable regulations,” he said.
“But are they in compliance with moral regulations? International human rights standards? Are they in compliance with universally guaranteed human rights of freedom of speech and assembly?
“Lufthansa is not dealing with a democratic institution. We call on Lufthansa to be more vigilant. History will reward them.”
A petition was started on the iPetitions website on Wednesday afternoon.